Monday, February 10, 2020

YOKEL ( 18 ) ~



You shall know the truth,

and the truth shall make you odd


Men Without Women

What with two large

Barns, new garage and

100 acres of woodland behind

Him, Native’s gutted deer is

Hung from the front yard maple


Native is a farmhand

Always has been.

We don’t live that

Far apart, though

We’ve never met —

Rather seen each

Other’s face in a

Group and nodded

Hello. He lives with

His mother, never

Married and the

Last I knew he was

Working near town

Chopping corn and

Haying for a farmer,

Happy enough to do

That for twenty years.

But today I saw Native

On a back road tugging

A baler with an old

Tractor far from town

And that other farm —

It didn’t seem right

Seeing him way over

There, and even in a

Passing truck we were

Able to catch one another’s

Eye and nod. His face

Unshaved. All the fields

Nearby chopped and raked.

Killing in the Farmyard

It is no more than fifteen feet

But you should be closer —

Especially when using scattershot,

And same time in the morning as yesterday

They hear me coming, because then I shot

Their father or brother or uncle and I like

To avoid a face shot as I watch two bolt from

Compost to go under the chicken hut and one

Ditches into a hole without thinking while the

Other — the bigger one — pauses at the wire

Fencing and waits, curious as I am, actually

Turns around and almost sits up prairie dog style

It will have to be a face shot

If I blink — he’s gone

I’ve gotten this far stalking behind

A tree to a chopping stump and raising

Slowly I aim, he’s a dead-duck, and fire

He’s alive but looking at me his eyes are blood

I clean out a shell to reload and

Quickly finish the job

Each shot burns a whistle in the air

Wakes the dog, shakes the chickens, kills a rat

Old Hand

They wanted $100

For an ash pan

Imagine that —

Native took old scrap

Steel roofing and it

Took three hours

To flatten it out

Bend it around

But he made one

Bob Arnold